An American Family History

Dwinnell Family History

  from Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts, with a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity
By Ellery Bicknell Crane
Published by The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907

Various spellings of Dwinnell
Doenell, Donell, Donnall, Donnell, Duenell, Dunnel, Dunnell, Dwaniel, Dwaniell, Dwainel, Dwennel, Dwinel, Dwinell, Dwinnel, Dwinnill, Dwonill, Dwynel

Wenham was first settled by English Puritans. The church was formed in 1644 with John Fiske as pastor.

In 1688, during the Glorious Revolution, the Protestant king and queen,William and Mary, took the English throne from Catholic King James II. The bloodless revolution profoundly impacted the American colonies.

Michael Dwinnell (Dwinell, Dunnell) (i), was the immigrant ancestor of Benjamin D. Dwinnell, of Fitchburg. It is difficult to tell how his name should have been spelled. Michael, his first name, is found in the early records spelled in many different ways. The surname is found in the records of Topsfield, Massachusetts, alone spelled Dwenell, Duenell, Doenell, Donell, Dunell, Dwinnill. The best authority we have is that of Rev. Joseph Capen, of Topsfield, who spelled the name Dwinell on his records from 1684 to 1725.

According to the family tradition the name is Scotch and the ancestry originally Scotch, and it may have been a family in England or Scotland for many generations. The names Donnel and Dunnell are good old English and Scotch surnames. Michael Dwinnell was a man of means. He owned land from Wenham to Middletown, many broad acres. He died in 1717 and his will was proved in March, 1717.

He married Mary. Their children: Mary, born 1668, married John Hovey; Michael, born 1670, of whom later; Thomas, born November, 1672, married Dinah Brimsdell; John, born 1674, married Mary Read; Elizabeth, born April, 1677, died October 29, 1759, unmarried; Magdalen, born 1679, married James Holgate, March, 1703, at Salem, Massachusetts; Joseph, born January, 1682, married Prudence; Susannah, born 1685, married Killum, before 1710; , born 1688, married Nathaniel Hood, of Lynn, October 16, 1706.

(II) Dr. Michael Dwinnell, son of Michael Dwinnell (i), was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, 1670. He was the first physician in the town and was a prominent man there for many years. He must have studied under some other doctor of the vicinity, but little is known of his education. The historian has preserved more of his matrimonial history than of his professional career, probably because he had in succession five wives, which tradition has made seven in many places.

He married (first) Hannah. He married (second) Elizabeth Fisk, of Wenham, December 10, 1724; she died March 26, 1730. He married (third) Elizabeth Cave; she died February, 1737. He married (fourth), July 6, 1737, in Salem, Massachusetts, Charity Cotton, who died November 8, 1752. He married (fifth) Mary Balch, February 1, 1753.

He died December 24, 1761, aged ninety-one years. His will dated July 17, 1753, mentions wife Mary; sons Michael, Stephen, Jacob; his daughters Sarah Foster, Mary, Hannah, and Abigail Dwinnell; his granddaughter Esther Balch, wife of David Balch.

The children of Michael and Hannah Dwinnell were: Thomas, born October 3, 1693, married Mary Perkins; Sarah, born 1694, married Abram Foster, of Ipswich; Mary, born 1702; Michael, born 1707, of whom later; Stephen, born 1708, married Abigail Harris; Hannah, born 1710, married John Bower; Jacob, born 1715, married Keziah Gould; Abigail, born 1719, married Humphrey Deering. The children of Michael and Elizabeth (Fisk) Dwinnell were: Benjamin, born November, 1726, married Mary Este; Thomas, born August, 1729. Of Michael and Elizabeth (Cave) Dwinnell: Samuel, born 1731; Elizabeth, born October, 1733.

The settlement of New Meadows was incorporated as the Town of Topsfield in 1650. The church "gathered" on November 4, 1663. The third Meeting House was built in 1703 with Rev. Joseph Capen as pastor.



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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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